Federal Emergency Management Agency

To all of the superlatives attached to Superstorm Sandy, add power outages.

Ten million customers in 21 states lost power in the wake of the storm, by far the most in the history of the U.S. utility industry, and well in excess of the 7 million whose electricity got knocked out in Hurricane Irene in 2011, the storm with the second-biggest impact. Keep reading →

To the experts, it’s a Geomagnetic Disturbance, or GMD. To most of us, it’s a solar flare.
Whatever its name, it can fry a large electricity system, burn out controls, and black out square miles in seconds, like the massive flare that brought down the grid in Canada’s Quebec province for nine hours in 1989.

Now, the power industry and regulators responsible for electric reliability are trying to figure out how to stop it, or at least minimize the potential damage. Keep reading →